Eagle River fire district cancels tax increase election | VailDaily.com

Eagle River fire district cancels tax increase election

District board decides to postpone asking voters for a tax increase to raise $2 million in the first year

The Eagle River Fire Protection District is asking voters to remove the restrictions of the state's Gallagher Amendment.
Eagle River Fire Protection District

The Eagle River Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors has determined that it will cancel a May 5 election in which the district intended to ask voters to set a 1.8 mill levy for a fire equipment and maintenance fund. The mill levy was estimated to raise just under $2 million in its first year, and was to have been used to fund the purchase and maintenance of critical operational equipment.

 “This was a very difficult decision,” Eagle River Fire Protection District Chief Karl Bauer said. “The district still must find a way to procure essential rescue, breathing and other life-saving equipment and properly maintain those investments. However, until we overcome the economic difficulty created by the coronavirus pandemic, we should not ask voters for this modest tax increase.”

The district on March 12 joined Eagle County and the state of Colorado in declaring a state of emergency in response to the growing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19. County and state public health orders have restricted local business operations, closed schools, and caused an early end to what had been projected to be a prosperous ski season. The expected time in which these restrictions will remain in effect — and the long term consequences to the local economy — is still unknown.

 “The need is still there,” district board chair Clint Janssen said. “However, we believe that, given recent events, now is not the time to ask the community for additional funding. We will tighten our belts, as everyone else is right now. We will get through this pandemic together, and then we will re-evaluate our options.”

The District will continue to focus on critical priorities including:

  • Providing and maintaining equipment for emergency responses including water rescues, wildfire response, mass casualty incidents, and other emergency response services.
  • Meeting increased demand for vital emergency services.
  • Maintaining a state of readiness for firefighters and ensuring proper operation and durability of fire and emergency equipment.

 For more information about this mill levy or the election, email Bauer, kbauer@eagleriverfire.org.

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